Thursday, April 4, 2013

Meat is Murder... Tasty, TASTY Murder

This year I got Cornish X Rock meat birds from Murray McMurray Hatchery. I've never raised meat birds before and have found there are quite a few differences.

They grow amazingly fast. They are triple even quadruple the size of the egg laying birds I got at the same time. They are lazy and are content finding a spot and lying there the whole day, especially if they can lie down with their face in the feeder so they can eat at the same time.

They are not as fastidious as their egg laying cousins and will lie in their own poop, they are not picky about this.  I have found I need to keep the coop regularly cleaned as it does cake on their breast feathers and will make for an unpleasant job at processing time. I ordered 25 birds in total 15 of which are meat birds and this was a bit tight for my coop space until it got nice and I was able to let them wander a bit more.

They are greedy and will push all other birds out of the way of food and water, they are much more food aggressive so if you are able to keep them in a separate coop that is a good option. But not necessary, they are not overly violent to the smaller birds they just want to get to the food first.

Did I mention they grow FAST?  They are 9 weeks and ready to be processed this upcoming Saturday. I believe that most will probably dress out at 5-6 lbs. Some might even be larger! I believe there will be a few nice roaster/broilers in the bunch.  I've already processed 6 and have another 9 to go. The ones I processed a couple weeks back were 3-4 lbs, perfect for fryers.

I like to roast a chicken every Sunday as it makes for a very nice Sunday evening meal and leftovers for the boyfriend and I all week long for lunches and easy dinners.  It will be nice to be able to roast my own homegrown birds, knowing they led happy lives and ate good food and bugs.

I make a simple roast bird

1 large roasting chickens, trussed
Salt and pepper and fresh thyme from the garden

I rinse and pat dry the chicken sprinkle salt and pepper and thyme generously all over the bird and stick it in a 400 degree Fahrenheit oven for a hour and forty-five minutes to two hours. It is always good to put the bird over a bed of sliced potatoes and let them roast in the schmaltz. YUM!